Which food hygiene course is for you?
Food safety and hygiene has never been so important. As hospitality is recovering, businesses must ensure stellar food safety standards to keep customers safe and confident. And that’s why a food hygiene course is key. By training your staff on everything food safety and hygiene, you protect your people and your brand. From temperature monitoring and hazard identification to proper food storage techniques and allergen awareness, there’s a lot on the plate.
But we get you here at Navitas. There are so many courses to choose from! Level 1, 2, or 3, online or offline, food safety only or health and safety… So take a breath! In this interactive, Q&A-based blog we will go through each level so that you can assess which food hygiene course sounds like the best for you.
Get flipping! 😉
The factors that matter when considering a food hygiene course
Choosing the right food hygiene course starts with scoping your business. Whilst food safety is everyone’s business, training requirements will differ. So first, have a look at the following factors. They will help you assess a bit better which training level to go for:
- Type of your business (restaurant, school canteen, deli, retail)
- Size of your business (single site with one team or multi-site with 200+ staff)
- Role of each employee (end seller vs. cook)
- Level of involvement with food (low or high contact with food)
- Team dynamics and organisation (e.g. do your staff need to cover the shifts of others?)
- New regulations (e.g. Natasha’s Law requiring updated knowledge and training)
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to choosing the right food hygiene course. Every business is different and it’s down to managers, owners and supervisors to assess what’s right. However, the above factors should help you decide which level and type of food hygiene training sounds like the most appropriate.
Let’s take a quick example. If your business is food retailing and your staff aren’t involved with food handling and preparation, a basic food hygiene course could be enough. On the other hand, if the contact with food is more important (caterers, restaurants), considering a Level 2 or 3 will be necessary. Sit tight, we will go through each level bit by bit in the next flip cards! So yes, keep flipping 😉
Who is Level 1 Food Safety Training best for?
First things first, how about Level 1? This is seen as the basic food hygiene course. This level of food safety training will be appropriate for staff with very minimal contact with food. Generally speaking, the following roles are required to have at least a Level 1 qualification:
- End sellers (e.g. selling wrapped food in a deli)
- Warehouse staff
Whilst these teams might not often be directly involved with food preparation, having basic knowledge of food safety is key to keeping your business safe. This level of food hygiene training will ensure your staff have the basics of food safety awareness. Namely in terms of cleaning and disinfection techniques, personal hygiene when handling food, as well as being aware of the most common food hazards.
But once again, it’s not that straightforward 🤔 Consider the size of your business and the dynamics within your team. Currently, there is a trend in the foodservice industry of upgrading staff to Level 2. Indeed, more and more businesses decide to train front and back-of-house staff to Level 2 to cover more shifts and ensure maximal safety. Also, as hospitality is facing a difficult staffing crisis, upgrading everyone to a more comprehensive course could help your business thrive in the next few months thanks to cross-skilling.
Who should take a Level 2 Food Hygiene course?
A Level 2 food hygiene course is much more comprehensive than Level 1. Indeed, it will focus on more best practices and deeper knowledge. It will empower your staff to be aware and capable of handling food with top-notch safety standards. The course should cover the following topics:
- Food hazard identification and control
- Temperature monitoring
- Allergen awareness
- Personal hygiene best practices
- Cooking safety procedures
- Cleaning & disinfecting techniques
- Pest control and more!
In other words, anyone frequently involved with food should be trained with a level 2 food hygiene course. All foodservice businesses should consider this course when relevant – including hotels, supermarkets, coffeeshops, care homes, food manufacturers, school canteens etc.
However, whilst the most typical roles that might come to mind are chefs and cooks, anyone who manipulates or serves food should make the most of this type of training. Ensuring front-of-house staff are trained on Level 2 could help further prevent cross-contamination incidents and other hazards. On top of that, getting your full team equipped with such food safety training will promote a positive safety culture within your team and with your customers.
Considering a Level 2 Food Safety course? Read our guidance on how to choose the best course!
How about a Level 3 Food Hygiene Course?
Let’s move to Level 3. Whilst Level 2 is relatively acceptable for chefs and cooks, the reality is… Level 3 is better. This covers food safety in much more depth and reinforces your brand’s safety standards. A food hygiene course Level 3 is usually recommended for foodservice business owners, managers, head chefs and supervisors in order to ‘manage food safety’ appropriately. In other words, it helps management have smoother operations with the right safety know-how when managing and training the rest of their staff.
In general, this course will equip your team with the right practices on how to implement a food safety management system that works. In addition, anyone involved with food handling should consider Level 3 to stay up-to-date and get the best knowledge and practices possible to keep the premises safe. We can see a lot of staffing shortages at the moment in the hospitality sector. This actually reinforces the need of having staff qualified at all levels in order to take over shifts. Whether a team member is ill, ‘pinged’ and isolating or generally unavailable to work, training everyone will allow cross-skilling.
Is food hygiene training enough to keep your brand safe?
Taking a food hygiene course is a great first step to manage food with total confidence – and meet your legal requirements of having your staff suitably trained. And it’s also essential to build a strong Food Safety Management System. But there’s a lot going on in the foodservice industry and rules and laws frequently change. And this is something your EHO will not miss out on his or her next visit! So maximise your chances of getting a 5* hygiene rating with further training for your team.
Look for training on new foodservice laws (e.g. Natasha’s Law on Allergen Management coming up October 2021). There’s plenty of courses to ensure top-notch food safety practices within your business. Have you thought of an Allergen Awareness course to avoid cross-contamination and bad press, for example?
Additionally, Health & Safety training is also key to keep your business a safe workplace. This would train your teams on safe manual handling and the safety of others. Besides, specific courses around Alcohol Licensing or Pest Control could also reinforce your safety standards and really impress your EHO. If one of your audits went badly, it’s time to react and train your teams on specific, post-audit outcomes. Overall, a food hygiene course is a key ally for your business. It empowers your teams and keeps your premises safe and performing. The way to a resilient foodservice business! So, keep training and don’t rely solely on a food hygiene course.
How can Navitas Safety help you in terms of food hygiene training?
Navitas Safety is here to welcome anyone who’s willing to be trained and get empowered with 5* food safety skills:
- First, the classics Level 1, 2 or 3 Food Safety / Health & Safety courses;
- Second, specific training on Allergen Awareness to get ready for Natasha’s Law;
- Brand-specific and bespoke training to match your business’ needs;
- Finally, supercharged training targeting your audit outcomes.
Therefore opting for a food hygiene course with Navitas Safety will ensure your teams are fully trained and confident in handling and serving food with industry best practices. It will also act as a boost to lift everyone’s spirits as our industry is recovering. Slowly, but safely!
Curious about how we make food safety training memorable? 😉